Blessed Francis Seelos

Birth: January 11, 1819 (Bavaria)
Death: October 4, 1867, New Orleans, USA
Beatification: 2000
Feast: October 5

Francis Xavier Seelos was born in Fussen, Bavaria on January 11 1819. He studies philosophy at the University of Munich and began theology as a seminarian for the diocesan clergy. After visiting the Redemptorists in Altötting, where he heard of their missionary work in North America, he decided to join them. With their approval, he set off for the United States in 1843 where he made his novitiate.

He made his profession in Baltimore in May 1844 and was ordained priest there in December. His first assignment was to St. Philomena's in Pittsburgh where he served for six years as assistant pastor with (Saint) John Neumann as pastor and superior of the community.

He then served as superior of the community for three more years. During this time he was also the novice master. In 1854, he was appointed pastor of St. Alphonsus in Baltimore, and in 1857 pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul in Cumberland as well as prefect of students there and in 1862 in Annapolis, Maryland. Replaced as prefect of students, he preached missions in German and English throughout the Northeast and Midwest United States. Father Seelos was always an active and highly successful missioner - particularly devoted to the confessional - and was revered as an exceptional confessor and spiritual director.

After a year as assistant pastor in St. Mary's in Detroit, in 1866 he was assigned to the parish of the Assumption in New Orleans, Louisiana as pastor. There he made a great effort to care for the poor, sick and neglected. While caring for victims of yellow fever, he contracted the disease himself. Only a year after being assigned, he died in New Orleans on October 4, 1867. Francis Seelos was beatified in 2000.